When it comes to the age-old debate of the east side versus the west side, two specific neighbourhoods in Singapore always pop up in conversation — Jurong East’s food options and Tampines’.
In particular, the former is a hotspot frequented by many in the west, due to its pivotal location as the intersection between the more secluded western regions and the rest of Singapore.
It’s no wonder that Jurong East has been built up over the years as a “second CBD in the west”. It’s basically the de-facto capital of the West — you’ll find countless hawker stalls and a dense concentration of shopping centres serving Jurong East.
But with such a staggering number of establishments available, it can be hard to decide on a dinner spot when you’re in the area.
1. Soul Kind Cafe
242 Jurong East Street 24, 01-627
Open: Tuesday to Friday (11am to 9pm), Saturday and Sunday (9.45am to 9pm)
Why visit? While it may look like any other unassuming cafe, Soul Kind Cafe at Jurong East has a rather unique concept — this cosy little hideout specialises in vegetarian and allium-free (excludes onions, garlic, leek, scallions and chives) food options.
Besides thoughtfully catering to specific dietary restrictions, Soul Kind Cafe’s menu also offers up quite an eclectic mixture of dishes. Diners can expect everything from local delights to hearty Korean options, as well as cuppas presented with the most adorable latte art.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: The signature Japanese curry cutlet rice (S$8.90) is a great choice for those who enjoy the mild sweetness of Japanese-style curry. Meanwhile, the simple butter-cream mushrooms (S$11.90) will appeal to anyone who enjoys chowing down on a heap of juicy mushrooms.
2. The Carving Board
252 Jurong East Street 24, 01-107,
Open: Tuesday to Thursday (11.30am to 2.30pm, 4.30pm to 9.30pm), Friday (11.30am to 2pm, 4.30pm to 10pm), Saturday (12pm to 10pm), and Sunday (12pm to 9.30pm)
Why visit? If you haven’t heard of this eatery, it’s because The Carving Board is a gem that is more well-known to the residents of Jurong East. Don’t sleep on it, though — the highly rated Western grill not only provides quality bites at affordable prices, but is also not stingy with its portions.
Where else can you find a place that serves up generous portions of mushroom risotto and angus ribeye steak at such wallet-friendly prices? Certainly not at the snazzier restaurants in town.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: If you’re not in the mood to shell out big money at a fancy steakhouse, the 250g Australian grain-fed ribeye steak (S$26) is a good budget option for anyone living in the Jurong East area.
Other than that, you can expect solid western classics such as mushroom risotto (S$15), salmon steak (S$18) and a slew of pasta dishes (from S$12) to pair with your protein.
Vision Exchange, 01-41, 2 Venture Drive
Open: Monday to Friday (4pm to 12am), Saturday (5pm to 12am)
Why visit? It’s easy to dismiss the trendily done-up Chocobar as a mere watering hole. However, the quirky gastrobar actually dishes out a diverse range of bites to pair with its tipples, making it a great spot for after-work chilling and nice food in Jurong.
Bar bites such as mala popcorn chicken and seafood aglio olio are crowd favourites that are worth trying, especially if it’s your first visit.
Crowd favourites: You can’t go wrong with hearty staples such as seafood aglio olio (S$15.90) or mala popcorn chicken (S$10.90).
4. MP Thai
Vision Exchange, 02-42, 2 Venture Drive
Open: Monday to Sunday (11.30am to 10pm)
Why visit? If you’re in the Jurong East area and nursing a Thai food craving, then you’re in luck. Tucked away on the second floor of Vision Exchange, MP Thai serves up hearty Thai-style comfort that some customers claim to remind them of their time in Thailand.
Considering its affordable price point and an extensive menu that’s filled with the quintessential Thai dishes, you can consider this for your next outing with any Thai-food-loving family or friends.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: According to fans, classic Thai comfort dishes are what MP Thai does best, which means staples such as the basil minced chicken or pork rice and egg (S$7) and pad thai (S$7) would probably satisfy any Thai food lover.
5. Anjana Kitchen
Vision Exchange, 01-44, 2 Venture Drive
Open: Monday to Sunday (6am to 9.45pm)
Why visit? Anjana Kitchen is a popular lunchtime option for many who work in Jurong East. With a slew of authentic Indian dishes, including vegetarian options, this Jurong East food place is made for those days when you’re craving a dose of spice-heavy indulgence.
The restaurant also takes pride in using fresh ingredients, which are delivered to the restaurant daily to make signatures such as its naan (Indian flatbread), butter chicken and biryani.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: We argue that there are no combinations more enjoyable than morsels of pillowy soft bread smothered in rich gravy. Naan.
If you belong in the same camp, then the crowd favourites of Tandoori chicken naan set (S$10.50) and butter chicken naan set (S$10.50) will surely hit the spot.
6. Fountain Microbrewery & Restaurant
Science Centre Singapore, Level 2 Snow City, 21 Jurong Town Hall Road
Open: Tuesday to Friday (12pm to 3pm, 5pm to 12am), Saturday and Sunday (12pm to 12am)
Why visit? Fountain Microbrewery is a Jurong East food place for the beerheads. The establishment takes pride in its unique range of craft beer, brewed in-house. The brewery is helmed by master brewer Mung Tjai, who boasts three decades of experience and an expertise in brewing methods developed from old German traditions.
In addition to craft beers, the restaurant serves a variety of dishes that go with a crisp pint. What goes best with beer? If your answer is rich, smoky barbecue ribs and hefty meat platters, then you’re at the right place.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: If you’re craving meat, consider its popular fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs (S$37). There are even a few platter options, such as the Fountain platter (S$55), which comes loaded with goodies including grilled pork shabu shabu, fish bites and barbecued pork ribs.
7. Ahtti Korean Restaurant
Vision Exchange, 02-43, 2 Venture Drive
Open: Monday to Saturday (11.30am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 10pm)
Why visit? This is the Jurong East food spot every Korean food lover should head to when they are at Jurong East. Ahtti Korean Restaurant is a cult favourite that offers up authentic Korean fried chicken, available in a multitude of seasonings.
The eatery is nice and homely and can remind some folks of their trips to Korea. However, it can get packed during peak hours, so reservations are recommended if you’re planning to come in a larger group.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: The unmistakable signature here is the honey butter chicken (from S$21), though there is also a cheese butter chicken (from S$22) if you’d like to amp up the richness.
Ahtti’s menu also contains a slew of traditional Korean dishes such as seafood pancake (S$15) for those who prefer to supplement their fried chicken with carbs.
8. Miam Miam
Westgate, 02-27/29, 3 Gateway Drive
Open: Monday to Thursday (11.30am to 9.30pm), Friday (11.30am to 10pm), Saturday (8.30am to 10pm), Sunday (8.30am to 9.30pm)
Why visit? Miam Miam is a French-Japanese restaurant that serves a variety of pasta, rice-based dishes and desserts. It only has two locations in Singapore currently — one at Bugis and one at Jurong East.
Taking inspiration from modern kissaten (Japanese-style tearooms) eateries in Japan, the establishment strives to create unique flavours by marrying ingredients such as French butter and shoyu (Japanese soy sauce).
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: As with most Japanese-Western fusion concepts, it’s the unique pasta dishes that get the most love. It’s little wonder why, with tantalising options such as creamy miso squid with squid ink pasta (S$26.90) on Miam Miam’s menu.
The desserts are also a crowd-pleaser — especially the assortment of fluffy souffles and pancakes. If you can’t decide what to go for, we suggest the dark chocolate souffle (S$13.80) for a truly decadent end to your meal.
9. Joo Siah Bak Koot Teh
Block 349 Jurong East Avenue 1, 01-1215
Open: Tuesday to Saturday (8am to 7.15pm), Sunday (8am to 3.30pm)
Why visit? Did you know that Jurong East is actually home to one of the best bak kut teh in Singapore? According to the Michelin guide, Joo Siah Bak Koot Teh offers one of the best-value eats in Singapore.
This Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient draws in hordes of regulars looking for a taste of its peppery soup, based on a three-decade-old secret family recipe.
Price range: $
Crowd favourites: Were you expecting anything else? Of course, the must-order when you’re here is the signature bak kut teh (pork ribs soup, from S$7.20). There’s just something about the peppery comfort of this local classic that most of us won’t be able to resist.
10. Tai Er
Jem, B1-04, 50 Jurong Gateway Road
Open: Monday to Friday (11.30am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm), Saturday and Sunday (11.30am to 9pm)
Why visit? Most foodies already know this: Sichuan cuisine is currently in vogue, evidenced by the fact that more popular restaurants are popping up in Singapore, serving up the unapologetically spice-heavy flavours of the region.
One up-and-coming Sichuan cuisine specialist is Tai Er — a chain opened in 2015 that has more than 400 outlets in China — that is known for its signature dish of Chinese sauerkraut fish. There are four Tai Er outlets in Singapore, with Jurong East being the only location in the west.
Price range: $$$$
Crowd favourites: When you’re at the restaurant, you’d see a bowl of its iconic sauerkraut fish (from S$48) on every table. The signature dish has managed to capture the hearts of many Singaporeans with its fresh silky fish, drowned in an addictive concoction that balances between piquancy and heat.
11. Tipsy Bunny
Jem, 01-05, 50 Jurong Gateway Road
Open: Monday to Sunday (12pm to 1am)
Why visit? If you’ve heard of The Tipsy Collective, you’ll be familiar with its modus operandi — an unadulterated good time filled with live tunes and moreish Asian-inspired bites.
The Tipsy Bunny is the F&B group’s Jurong East outpost and is conveniently located at Westgate. That makes it the perfect spot to hop by for a short chillout sesh after work, especially for those returning home from the Central Business District.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: One of the most common orders across all Tipsy Collective concepts are the freshly shucked oysters (S$3 each), which are seasonal and, as the name suggests, extremely fresh. But if raw shellfish isn’t quite your beat, there’s also hearty local-inspired fusion grub that includes the likes of the rich and silky truffle moonlight hor fun (S$25).
12. Lee’s Confectionery
343 Jurong East Street 31, 01-59
Open: Wednesday to Sunday (12pm to 6pm)
Why visit? Jurong East is probably the last place you’d look for fastidiously plated sweet treats. That’s why many dessert lovers are pleasantly surprised when they hear of Lee’s Confectionery, a minimalist white cafe that’s nestled inside a HDB estate.
It’s not like your typical HDB cafe — it’s helmed by pastry chef and owner Lee Yin Quan, who had worked under a number of Michelin-starred chefs such as Jean-Francois Piege. That experience translates into exquisitely plated desserts similar to those you can find at more upscale dessert bars.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: Matcha fanatics would relish the chance to dig into the long-time favourite Dale (S$9.50), which features an adornment of matcha sponge and matcha yuzu white chocolate ganache, fashioned to resemble a miniature tree.
But if you’re a sucker for sleek geometry in your desserts, the gorgeous honeycomb-inspired Madu (honey joys, cornflakes crumble, honey caramel and Horlicks mascarpone cream, S$9.50) would be more up your alley.
13. Enaq Prata
303 Jurong East Street 32
Open: Monday to Sunday (7am to 11pm)
Why visit? Those who love their crispy prata ought to have heard of Enaq Prata, a not-so-hidden gem in Jurong East that draws in tons of regulars, even though it’s not the most conveniently located.
While most people are lured in by the allure of the golden-brown crispy exterior on its plain prata, it is also known for its diverse offerings that range from plaster (prata with a sunny side up embedded into it) to sweeter items such as honey banana and kaya.
Price range: $
Crowd favourites: Sometimes, the simplest pleasures are the best remedy for a bad week, and the plain prata (S$1.20 each, minimum order of two) is an affordable way to perk yourself up. There’s nothing like indulging in the familiar crispy comfort of prata.
14. Tonkatsu by Ma Maison
Westgate, 04-06, 3 Gateway Drive
Open: Monday to Friday (11am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm), Saturday and Sunday (11am to 10pm)
Why visit? Many people would be familiar with Ma Maison as an affordable Japanese-Western brand that dishes out hearty fusion flavours through dishes such as cuttlefish ink pasta and hamburg steak. But some may not know that it also has an offshoot that specialises in one specific dish — Tonkatsu by Ma Maison — and the restaurant can be found in Jurong East!
Renowned for its authentic and decadent rendition of the classic Japanese-style pork cutlet, the casual dining brand is a popular choice for many Japanese food aficionados. This is a must-try if you’re looking for the best tonkatsu in Singapore.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: You can never go wrong with the brand’s staple tonkatsu but it comes in a few variations to cater to different tastes. Those who prefer a bouncy bite would enjoy the leaner hire katsu set (from S$20.80), whereas the rosu katsu set (from S$19.80) will win the hearts of those who prefer fatter, richer cuts of pork.
For some additional oomph, you can also get your pork cutlets covered in silky layers of umami miso sauce in the form of the miso hire katsu set (S$25.30) or miso rosu katsu set (S$24.30).
Nicholas Wong contributed to this article.
All the stores mentioned in this article, with the exception of Tai Er, Tipsy Bunny, Lee’s Confectionery, The Carving Board, and Fountain Microbrewery & Restaurant, are on the GrabFood delivery service and offer free delivery (up to S$3 off) with GrabUnlimited.
They can also be found on GrabFood Dine-in.
You can also book a ride to the stores mentioned in the article.